Financial data: what do you need?
As a general rule of thumb, the more financial data that is available, the better. If your accounting system is sophisticated enough to produce internal balance sheets and profit and loss statements, they are certainly useful. Of course, the best information to use as a basis is the Federal Tax Return, as when these are submitted to the IRS, each and every final adjustment has been made. Additionally, three to five year returns will give the valuation analyst a better and more consistent track record of the company’s history. For more information and / or questions, trust the appraiser for guidance. Usually the most important source of data needed is the owner or CEO (or CFO if a company is large enough to support that position), who is generally very familiar with “financial events” and history. specific applicable.
Current debt: a factor?
In the context of assigning a value to a business to be sold, while debt is certainly important, it is generally not something that has a direct influence on business value. This is why. When there is a long-term debt to consider (any debt that is carried on the books for a period of more than one year), that debt is usually handled by the seller with the proceeds of the sale. If it turns out as part of the deal that the buyer will assume a certain amount of the owner’s long-term debt, that agreement is usually part of the purchase-sale agreement prepared by the attorneys and accountants on one or both sides.
How much should an appraisal cost?
The fee or service charge for a commercial appraisal / appraisal will vary, depending on a number of factors. It can run from a few hundred dollars for a simple “out of the box” software program, up to tens of thousands of dollars in some cases. . . if the project involves a medium or larger company ($ 10MIL or more in sales), and if it is requested from a major accounting or valuation firm. But for most smaller companies, with sales of, say, $ 500 million to $ 10MIL, and you are served by an experienced valuation professional who does nothing more than process valuations, the service fee should be in the range. They range from $ 3,500 to $ 7,500, depending on the size of your business and the amount of work to be authorized. (In some cases, the extras amount to the valuation of several different years, several different divisions of the same company, 5-year averages, valuation forms, etc. A valuation form is a valuation based on projections of expected results). An experienced and verified approach can produce accurate assessments that are worth your time. Which brings us to our next focal point. Select an appraisal professional or specialist to do the job of this very, very important service.
How to select a valuation service
A story that occurred several years ago comes to mind. When asked who would do the required valuation, the client replied, “I have an excellent accountant who will take care of that for me.” It was then suggested that the client verify how many companies the accountant normally values over the course of a year. I later learned that the aforementioned accountant had appraised a company about 18 months ago. Needless to say, the client decided to opt for another firm that had a more meaningful and current valuation experience. And please don’t misunderstand my intention, as this is not a mockery of accountants. Most of those with whom we are familiar do professional and competent work in accounting, and some even have respectable valuation experience and activity. This accountant simply did not have substantial valuation experience. The following checklist will help you with the selection process.
Valuation Company / Professional Checklist
o How long the appraiser’s “system” to be used has been in operation
o Printed literature and / or data sheets describing the process to be used
o Variety and size of companies valued in the past
o Frequency of valuation projects
o How the final numbers can be verified
o Are comparables from other similar companies provided?
o Lists of previous clients as references
o Letters of testimonials from previous valuation clients
o Articles published on valuation / appraisal of companies
o Ability to provide expert testimony in court if necessary
Please note that the above list does not include certification as a selection criteria. Certification from a major business valuation association is a good badge to wear, but it does not guarantee that the final numbers produced will be more accurate or realistic than those produced by a non-certified valuation professional. The key here is history, history, history! Also, the price you pay for a valuation is not a sure bet indicator of the accuracy of the results. A few years ago, one of the leading business magazines published an article featuring a valuation “expert” detailing the valuation assignment of a particular “services” company. As the article concluded, this valuation analyst cited the client’s business value from 15 to 22 to 61 times earnings. Actually. 61 times the earnings? (A copy of the article is available upon request) And the lesson here? A great company and a great fee don’t necessarily buy a bulletproof valuation.
In the words of a client who was kind enough to send us a letter after the sale of 25% of his property in a retail furniture store. . . . “I sold my part of the business, which came to a figure resulting from their analysis and I am satisfied that it was a fair price for the time.” What more can be said! ***
Grants to help sellers
There are two aids available to help homeowners who are thinking of selling. The “Ten Commandments of the Seller” is a list of guidelines that will help the owner prepare his business for sale and at the best possible price. The “Debt Service Worksheet” is an instruction sheet for learning how the mechanical down payment and financial balance interact when a seller plans to offer homeowner financing. Both are available free of charge by writing to Halas & Associates, 425 Roselawn Place, Charlotte, NC., Or by email: [email protected]